NHK takes a look at Ukraine's military drone development

Military drones have become an essential part of battleground strategy in the war in Ukraine. NHK has been granted access to a site where Ukrainians are developing their own autonomous weapons.

At a training facility, tests were being conducted on a large-scale drone designed to destroy tanks.

Ten-kilogram weights were used to confirm that the aircraft could fly steadily carrying heavy bombs and drop them accurately on targets.

Officials there were also making plans to produce suicide drones capable of penetrating the Russian tanks.

A soldier in the development unit who had just returned from the eastern battleground of Bakhmut said the drone can fly about 5 to 7 kilometers, cause damage to enemies, and also collect intelligence. The soldier said the aircraft can be used in any kind of place, such as cities, forests and plains.

Among the reasons Ukraine is focusing on domestically made drones is their lower cost. One particular model costs only about 500 dollars.

Ukrainian officials say they formerly used a massive amount of Chinese drones in the conflict. But they realized the serious risks involved. Russia also uses Chinese-made drones and has devices that can detect them.

They say enemy forces could locate Ukrainian positions using the frequencies from the drones and other means.

Ukrainian officials say their drones are therefore capable of easily changing frequencies to avoid detection.

The commander of the development unit said Ukraine stays away from Chinese drones as Beijing is closely working with Moscow. He said Ukraine makes drone parts by itself, including the frames.